The Cinderella Effect in the Putinesque Russian Politics
31 May, 2012
The Cinderella Effect in the Putinesque Russian Politics

Sometimes, loyalty to a big boss is everything when one needs to make a mammoth step in his or her career. This rule is 100% applicable in the promotional case of Igor Holmanskih – a regular foreman of Uralvagonzavod Plant in the Urals of Russia before the 21st of May of 2012. His story resembles very much the one of Cinderella. And the role of the fairy was brilliantly performed by President Putin himself.



On the 18th of May Igor Holmanskih, a middle-level employee of the engineering plant in the Sverdlovsk region of Russia received an offer he could not resist. He was proposed by the newly elected president Vladimir Putin to become his Plenipotentiary in the Ural federal district. (The Russian Federation is divided into 8 federal districts with the President’s Plenipotentiary in each). On the 21st of May Mr. Holmanskih already hosted the first press-conference in his new status. The news of one of the first post-inauguration appointments was certainly sensational. From rags to riches in a twinkle of an eye! From the levers of a regular machine to the levers of state management in just two shakes of a lamb’s tail!
How could this happen? Very easily, in fact! At the height of the massive public protests against the regime, in winter, Holmanskih was the one to strongly and ardently support Mr. Putin. During the space bridge with the then prime-minister and the presidential candidate Vladimir Putin he announced from the shop floor of his native plant: ‘I want to tell you about all these meetings. If our police cannot work and cannot cope with the ongoing situation, my men and me can march out [to Moscow] and defend our stability, within the framework of the functioning law of course’. This is exactly what he had said loudly and confidently. By ‘stability’ he meant the regular job and regular wages at his plant which became possible, according to his words, after Putin’s visit to Uralvagonzavod. This space bridge was transmitted by the nationwide Rossiya TV-channel and made the plant and its employee very-well known in the country. This kind of fame cannot last forever though. After the presidential elections people forgot about the Uralvagonzavod story and about Holmanskih. But not President Putin! It is very likely that he was grateful to the foreman for the support, seeming really sincere in his words and actions. And immediately after the presidential inauguration Putin granted a loyal workman from Urals with a very high position in the Russian political system. Presidential Plenipotentiary in the federal district represents the head of state on the territory of this district and reports directly to the bug guy. To demonstrate the weight of this kind of post, it is enough to say that such influential members of Putin’s team as Dmitry Kozak and Alexander Hloponin hold similar positions.
Mr. Holmanskih definitely looks as a white crow on the list of Putin’s plenipotentiaries. His political future is funnily vague. The newly-hatched boss will probably be rapidly and silently replaced when the PR-effect of this appointment exhausts itself. The contrary could happen too by the way – he might hold the post for a long time to come, reigning but not ruling, like the English Queen does. This will become clear and known in a little while. But the main lesson given as a result of the incident is pretty obvious: loyalty can be much more important to Putin than proficiency when choosing people to run a certain high-level office. That’s what he clearly meant by this Uralvagonzavod move.   Meanwhile, the new Russia — if  there is any at all — is waiting for the wise, knowledgeable, competent and independent-minded civil servants to get to the helm of the nation .
Nota Bene by NBR:
And that’s a very sad piece of moral to be fed to the Russian people and to have the entire country swallow it. We think Russia needs new type of national leaders to get to the helm of the country and lead it in compliance with internationally acknowledged rules and regulations, not forgetting of course the importance of national feelings and peculiarities. Time for this kind of administrative style is hopefully not too far away – it must be just around the corner, emerging slowly but surely. Part of me says that the abominable communistic method of choosing and placing the cadres will soon be dead and gone in Russia. Amen!